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Help dressing a man with cerebral palsy

  • Ian D Midgley
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John Adie from the Surrey panel has been approached by an OT with the following request and wonders if anyone has any experience in this area and could offer any assistance.

‘I am working with a man in his forties who has cerebral palsy and has recently been widowed. His wife had been assisting him to pull up his trousers and underpants after using the toilet, but he is now finding it difficult to manage this independently. He has impaired balance and limited range of movement in his arms, which coupled with impaired hand function and reduced grip means he cannot reach behind himself to pull his clothes up over his bottom or get a firm grip on his clothing (whilst at the same time maintaining his balance) He has some trouser clips but they are not really solving the problem. We discussed using braces to assist with his trousers, but this would not really work with underpants.’

If you can offer any assistance, please contact John on 01372 879099 or leave a comment below.

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3 responses to “Help dressing a man with cerebral palsy”

  1. Marion Walker says:

    Forty years ago, when I first qualified as an OT this was a relatively common problem with stroke patients. Fortunately in those days most men had trousers with braces.
    If the patient had clip type braces you would clip the under pants and trousers together, lengthen the braces as far as possible. While the man was still sitting down he put one arm through the braces then put them onto his shoulder. As the gentleman stood up the underpants and trousers came up too
    It was then relatively simple to get the other arm through the braces.
    Once the trousers were adjusted and fastened the patient would then tighten the braces.
    I hope this helps.

  2. Paul Winnard says:

    Hi John,
    a few years ago I dealt with a teenage boy who was born with no arms but who had rudimentary “hands” at his shoulders. His greatest wish was to dress and undress himself i.e. trousers and pants without having to call on the services of his carer. To this end I built a jig with upward facing hooks on which he could lie and by using loops sewn on the sides of his clothes, he could wriggle into his garments or out of them by lying the opposite way round. By the sound of your client, a basic frame with a hook arrangement either side of his loo might suffice apart from the sewing of loops to his clothing.

    Paul Winnard (Southend & District)

  3. Ian Cole says:

    Hi John, We have solved a ‘boots putting on’ case by using velcro. The principal is if he has fairly long lengths of velcro in his hands and small squares sewn on to his clothing, by pulling steadily they could be pulled up, then by giving a sudden jerk the two velcro parts can be made to separate.

    Ian Cole (Southampton and West Hants. Panel)

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